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The best form of breast cancer treatment is early detection

Women in Utah get screened for breast cancer at a much lower rate
Posted at 1:32 PM, May 16, 2023

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), breast cancer is the second-most common cancer among women in the United States.

The best form of cancer treatment is early detection and mammograms are the best way to catch breast cancer early.

Unfortunately, women in Utah get screened at a much lower rate than the rest of the country — by an estimated eight percent.

Elizabeth Paschen, Director of Clinical Pharmacy for Optum, joined us with more on one of the services they offer to members — mammograms in their Mobile Clinic.

Paschen says in line with the whole mission of the Mobile Clinic, it's just one more convenient way for members to get the services they need.

You can learn more about the Optum Mobile Clinic, including seeing specific stops and making an appointment if you're a member by calling 866.393.1213, or visit optum.com/utah.

Paschen says often, early-stage breast cancer is painless and doesn't present with any symptoms.

And when symptoms do present, they can vary from person to person.

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Noticing a lump in the breast or underarm
  • Changes in size or shape, or thickening or swelling in parts of the breast
  • Any new pain, irritation, or redness in the breast area

Anyone can get breast cancer, but it's more common in women as you age. Most breast cancer is found in women 50 years of age and older.
knowing your risk factors — both the ones you can and cannot change can help you work with your doctor on preventable and screening measures.

Risk factors you can't change include:

  • Aging – Again, your risk increases with age
  • Personal and/or family history of cancer
  • Non-cancerous breast diseases – Having other, non-cancerous breast diseases may increase your risk of developing cancer
  • Reproductive history
  • A history of radiation therapies
  • Breast density

Risk factors you can change include:

  • Not being physically active, especially after menopause
  • Taking hormones
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking

Preventative steps can potentially lower your risk, including keeping active limiting alcohol intake, and seeking to help quit smoking if you're a smoker.
If you have a family history of cancer, or are taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives, talk to your doctor about potential increased risks.

Your risk factors determine how often your doctor will recommend getting a mammogram.